Music at the Manse

A brilliant birthday gift from Raymond: it means we now have background music to renovate by!

My birthday present from Raymond came early this year. My birthday is not until July, but he wanted me to have it in time for our visit to the Manse last weekend. (Perhaps not too much of a surprise that this year’s birthday gift should be Manse-related, this being the year we bought the place and all.) So one day last week I was presented with a completely excellent gift: a Bose SoundDock for my iPhone!

This means that I can whomp the phone into the dock and play a bazillion songs (once I get a bazillion songs loaded into the phone; at the moment it’s more like a couple of hundred, me being a little slow on the iTunes uptake), and the sound is absolutely superb. (And the phone gets charged at the same time. Bonus!)

We set it up in the Manse’s dining room on Monday, putting it on top of our new (vintage) bookcase purchased at an auction that morning. It looks very handsome, and the sound is superb.

Ah yes: a stereo of the type we all thought was the bee’s knees back in the Manse days. It was pretty much all about the cabinet. Sound quality? Who cared about that? (Photo from the blog A Pretty Book,

The dining room was where the Manse’s 1960s/’70s sound system was located too. Cast your mind back to those days (if you remember them) and you’ll recall those large pieces of wooden(ish) furniture that were all about style (?) and not much about sound. A cheap record player and poor speakers encased in an elaborate cabinet. It was kind of like – in fact, it was exactly like – the Avocado Green appliance phenomenon. A household would get one of these oh-so-cutting-edge stereos/pieces of furniture, and friends and neighbours would oooh and aaah over how beautiful it was.

The quality of the sound? Not so much.

My new Bose has the old RCA stereo – purchased long, long ago from Pigden Electronics of Madoc, Ont. – completely whipped for sound quality. And, come to think of it, for design too.

But we weren’t music snobs back in those days, and I’m not a music snob even today. I just like to hear the music I like, and it’s lovely to now be able to do so at the Manse. I set the phone on shuffle when I put it in the dock on Monday, so every song was a surprise. It made me smile when the dulcet (and I mean that) tones of Karen Carpenter‘s voice suddenly spilled out: “Why do birds suddenly appear/Every time you are near … ” At a yard sale or flea market a year or two ago I picked up the CD Carpenters: The Singles 1969-1973, a nod to nostalgia since that was one of the records we used to play over and over and over on the old RCA stereo at the Manse. Now here was the opening song, playing again in the same room, after all those years.

And sounding quite a bit better.

Here’s Karen and Richard. Man, did she have a gorgeous voice …

2 thoughts on “Music at the Manse

  1. Silv and I bought the same Bose machine for our apartment here … one of the best investments we ever made. Enjoy!

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